Minister visits Reginald’s Tower, Dungarvan Castle, Garda Divisional HQ and sites for Dungarvan Flood Mitigation Projects
Waterford Fine Gael Senator John Cummins welcomed Minister of State with responsibility for the Office of Public Works, Patrick O’Donovan, T.D. to Waterford on Tuesday November 23rd for a day long visit across the city and county. Minister O’Donovan visited Ireland’s oldest civic building, Reginald’s Tower and Dungarvan Castle which are both managed by the Office of Public Works (OPW), the Waterford Garda Divisional Headquarters and a number of sites for Flood mitigation projects which Waterford city and County Council are developing plans for.
Senator Cummins said “there is no substitute for the Minister seeing on the ground the works and synergies that are required, be it for investment in our tourism assets, policing infrastructure or flood mitigation measures. Visits like this are invaluable in being able to demonstrate the need for additional resourcing and investment and make it easier for me to hammer home the message when it comes to decisions being made on funding”.
Despite limitations due to Covid 19, Reginald’s Tower has undergone recent works which included a complete electrical, fire and security upgrade as well as improved universal access for the visitor, upgrading of guides facilities and some enhancements to elements of the exhibition.
Senator Cummins said, “I am delighted to show Minister O’ Donovan one of Waterford and Irelands most iconic sites. I have been working very closely with stakeholders to ensure Reginald’s Tower and nearby Greyfriars can re-open again to visitors soon. This will put two key visitor attractions in Waterford’s Viking triangle firmly back on the map for tourists and local visitors alike. I believe we are also close to reaching a solution between Waterford Council and the OPW with regards to another building in the Viking Triangle which will enable another major project to proceed to the rear of Parade Quay as part of the €27.6 million in Urban Regeneration and Development funding which was allocated earlier this year.”
Minister O’Donovan also met with Garda Chief Superintendent Padraig Dunne and Senior Management at the Waterford Divisional Garda Headquarters to discuss the reorganisation of policing and the additional infrastructure required to facilitate the expansion of the various teams including the regional control room which will deal with all 999 calls for the 10 counties in the Eastern Region. Senator Cummins said “Securing funding for a much-needed extension and improvement works to the Waterford Divisional HQ is a matter I have been consistently bringing to the attention of Minister O’Donovan and Minister McEntee over the past 12 months. Minister O’Donovan reiterated the OPW’s readiness to initiate the works required once the project receives approval from An Garda Síochána in the upcoming building programme.
Minister O’Donovan and Senator Cummins then travelled to Dungarvan where they met Waterford Council and OPW Engineers to discuss local flood mitigation projects which the Council wish to progress. The OPW’s Minor Flood Mitigation Works and Coastal Protection Scheme provides funding to local authorities to undertake minor flood mitigation works or studies, costing up to €750,000 each, to address localised flooding and coastal protection problems within their administrative areas.
Minister O’Donovan said “Since the Scheme’s inception in 2009, the OPW has approved funding for 14 applications from Waterford County Council totalling €1,046,360 in support to the local authority. This funding has enabled Waterford County Council to carry out necessary flood mitigation works in numerous locations along its coast and rivers. It will be vital, too, for future projects that are required in the area such as a Coastal Flooding and Erosion Risk Management Monitoring Survey for Dungarvan and the Cunnigar. The OPW has also delivered over €25 million for major flood relief infrastructure in Waterford city and Passage East”.
The ministerial visit concluded at Dungarvan Castle, which dates back to the early thirteenth century. The Anglo-Norman settlement has a polygonal shell keep – a rare building type in Ireland and holds within its walls a military barracks dating from the first half of the eighteenth century where the OPW has installed visitor facilities and an Audio Visual presentation. Minister O’Donovan was pleased to note that the Waterford Greenway had enhanced Dungarvan’s reputation as a destination for cyclists and expressed his hope that it would bring more visitors to Dungarvan Castle in future.